January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, a time to learn about all the ways to prevent, detect and treat a cancer that affects around half a million women worldwide each year.
Cervical cancer is most often caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease. The vaccine for HPV can help prevent most cases of cervical cancer as well as many other cancers associated with the virus. Due to the large number of people with HPV, it’s recommended that both girls and boys receive the HPV vaccine to help prevent infection and cancers associated with the virus.
The most common way to detect cervical cancer is through a Pap smear performed during a gynecological exam. The American Cancer Society estimates that Pap smears can help prevent 80 percent of cervical cancer deaths. If you have a normal Pap smear, you only need to receive the test every three years after age 21 to about age 65.
As part of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, I urge you to get a Pap smear if you are over 21 and have not received one in the last three years or have a history of abnormal pap smears. I would also encourage you to get your children ages 10 and up the HPV vaccine so they will be protected from the infection in the future.
Talk to your doctor about this screening and other cancer screenings you should be receiving.
About Dr. Laureta-Bansil – Lenny Laureta-Bansil, DO, practices at Hampton Roads OB/GYN Center in Norfolk. She received her medical degree from Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She went on to complete her OB/GYN residency at State University of New York, Sisters of Charity Hospital.
Dr. Bansil is certified in laparoscopic surgery (FLS) and da Vinci robotic surgical system. She has participated in several research studies and is a member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Urogynecologic Society and American Osteopathic Association. Additionally, Dr. Bansil was a recipient of the 2012 AUGS Award for excellence in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery and the 2013 AAGL Special Resident in Minimally Invasive Gynecology.